The current case of a prominent Chinese activist seeking U.S. protection has echoes of a similar episode in 1989. Then, physicist Fang Lizhi took refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He spent a year there before the U.S. and China reached a deal allowing him to move to the U.S. He died this month in Arizona, at age 76. John B. Carnett/Popular Science via Getty Images hide caption

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Chinese paramilitary police patrol outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 28. Chen Guangcheng, a blind legal activist who fled house arrest in his rural Chinese village, is reported to be under the protection of U.S. officials. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is heading to China for what was supposed to be a routine visit. Alexander F. Yuan/AP hide caption

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April 13: In Karachi, activists from the Shabab-e-Milli group set fire to U.S. flags during a protest against the reopening of the NATO supply route to Afghanistan. Asif Hassan /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, seen in this image from a YouTube video, escaped last week after 19 months under house arrest. Searches for his name are banned on China's Twitter-like services. AP hide caption

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A man gathering firewood to sell cuts down mangrove trees in the coastal area of Medan city on Indonesia's Sumatra island on Jan. 31. The country, which has one-quarter of the world's mangroves, is losing them at a rate of 6 percent a year. The coastal forests play important ecological and environmental roles. Suntanta Aditya/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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